Do They Put Cardboard in Parmesan Cheese?

When it comes to food products, we often hear rumors and myths about what goes into them. One such rumor that has circulated for years is whether or not cardboard is used in the production of Parmesan cheese. In this article, we will explore the truth behind this claim and separate fact from fiction.

The Origins of the Rumor

Before delving into the truth behind the claim, let’s first understand where this rumor originated. The use of cellulose, a natural carbohydrate found in plants, as an additive in food products has been a common practice for many years. Cellulose is often used as an anti-caking agent or a filler to improve texture and prevent clumping.

Unfortunately, misconceptions arose when it was discovered that cellulose can be derived from wood pulp, which is commonly associated with cardboard production. This led to a widespread belief that cardboard was being used as an ingredient in Parmesan cheese.

The Truth Unveiled

Rest assured, Parmesan cheese does not contain cardboard. However, it’s important to note that cellulose derived from plants may be used as an ingredient in some brands of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. This cellulose acts as an anti-caking agent, preventing clumping and ensuring a smooth texture.

Cellulose is considered safe for consumption by regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is classified as a dietary fiber and does not pose any known health risks when consumed in moderate quantities.

The Role of Cellulose

Cellulose serves several purposes in food products:

  • Anti-Caking Agent: Cellulose helps prevent grated or shredded Parmesan cheese from clumping together, ensuring that it remains free-flowing and easy to use.
  • Texture Enhancer: It improves the texture of the cheese, providing a smoother mouthfeel.
  • Source of Fiber: As a dietary fiber, cellulose adds bulk to the cheese without significantly affecting its taste or nutritional value.

Labeling Requirements

Food labeling regulations require manufacturers to disclose the presence of cellulose on their product labels. If you are concerned about the use of cellulose in your Parmesan cheese, take a moment to read the ingredient list on the packaging. Look for terms like “cellulose” or “powdered cellulose” to identify its presence.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, while it is true that some brands of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese may contain cellulose derived from plants, there is no truth to the claim that cardboard is used as an ingredient. Cellulose serves as a safe and common additive in various food products to improve texture and prevent clumping. By understanding food labeling requirements and making informed choices, consumers can confidently enjoy their Parmesan cheese without worrying about hidden ingredients.